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Much rhetoric and little substance in India, Pakistan talks: Daily

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Islamabad: So far there seems to be “much rhetoric and little substance” following the talks between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, said a Pakistani daily on Wednesday.

An editorial in the News International “A taste of old wine” said that the need is to “plan strategy carefully and with genuine commitment if there is to be any real success in building the harmony that the region needs”.

“So far there seems to be much rhetoric and little substance,” it added.

Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz has given a briefing on the interaction between the prime ministers of India and Pakistan on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Ufa, Russia.

“There was nothing said that we have not heard before,” said the daily.

Aziz stressed that Track-II diplomatic contact between the two sides would be stepped up, with a host of issues to be discussed.

“Though he did not say so in so many words, it seems Kashmir may also be an issue taken up initially at least at Track II level,” the editorial said.

It added: “Much has been made about the face-to-face meeting between PM Nawaz Sharif and PM Narendra Modi in Russia. It is hard to say if anything solid will emerge from it.”

The daily went on to say that Track-II diplomacy has been tried many times before.

“In fact it has figured during the tenure of nearly every government over the past many years. The process generally involves a discussion on a range of issues between retired diplomats or others who are not directly in government as a means to build confidence and trust.”

Aziz mentioned that the Track-II process would include discussion on border tensions and also other issues that had come up over the past months. He said Pakistan had asked “India for more evidence regarding the charges it had made over the November 2008 siege of Mumbai”.

The editorial noted that there has been continued “expression of anxiety in New Delhi over what it sees as lack of movement in Pakistan in this matter and it has alleged that the key figures have not been detained or brought to trial”.

“The fact is that Track-II efforts almost never do any harm. They can indeed help lead towards some desirable objectives such as enhancing contacts between people.”

(IANS)

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Oli Assures Modi, Nepal’s Territory Won’t Be Used Against India’s Interests

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

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Gokhale said that Modi's two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations
KP Sharma Oli, PM of Nepal, wikimedia commons

Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli has told his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that Nepal’s territory will not be used against New Delhi’s interests, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said here on Saturday.

“Oli reiterated that they will be sensitive to our concerns and their territory will not be allowed to be used by anybody against India. Prime Minister Modi reciprocated the sentiments,” Gokhale told the media.

Gokhale called Oli’s view “very significant”.

There was a chill in India-Nepal ties during Oli’s earlier stint as Prime Minister between October 2015 and August 2016 when a border blockade blamed on New Delhi crippled Nepal’s economy.

There were also perceptions that Oli was leaning towards China than India.

Gokhale said that Modi’s two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations “whether it be cross-border electricity or cross-border connectivity”.

“We are looking into cross-border electricity and cross-border connectivity not only with Nepal but other neighbouring countries as well,” he said.

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

Stating that India welcomed the restoration of democracy in Nepal, Gokhale said that both the government and the opposition in the Himalayan nation were parties to it.

He said both sides agreed to be committed towards the stated projects. “We will address this within a set timeline.”

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi stressed on the importance of service to others in his last Mann Ki Baat edition for 2017.
Modi is on Nepal visit for two days, wikimedia commons

According to Gokhale, Oli confirmed to Modi that Nepal will host the the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) summit this year.

Bimstec comprises seven countries lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Gokhale also said that Modi’s visits to cultural sites in Nepal “suggested that there should be strong people-to-people ties”.

Apart from offering prayers at temples in Nepal, the Indian leader inaugurated the Janakpur-Ayodhya bus service, a 900 MW hydropower project and announced Rs 100-crore aid to develop Janakpur city.

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He also held extensive discussions with Oli, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and other government officials to better bilateral ties after which he said: “All misunderstandings with Nepal are over.”

Modi also met leaders of opposition parties, starting with former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and other members of the Nepali Congress.

He exchanged views on strengthening bilateral ties with former Prime Minister and Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”. (IANS)